How to Manage Stress During COVID-19
Stress can cause unexpected illness. Affinity Health highlights the importance of effective stress management during these challenging and uncertain times.
COVID-19 Has Increased Stress Levels
Affinity Health delves into the ways South Africans have been living in panic mode amid the spread of COVID-19. With panic comes mass amounts of confusion and stress.
Simply put, stress is how the body reacts to any increased demand, threat, or change. Numerous conditions can cause stress, but a situation that doesn’t bother you at all might cause someone else a lot of stress.
While stress is part and parcel of life, sometimes you get thrown curveballs you haven’t dealt with before.
COVID-19 is one such curveball that has caused many South Africans to feel exceptionally stressed and overwhelmed.
For many, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is the hardest thing to handle. We still don’t know exactly how we’ll be impacted, how long this will last, or how bad things might get.
Unmanaged stress can hamper your health and result in chronic stress, a basic cause of many human illnesses and diseases.
What Illnesses can be Caused by Chronic Stress?
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Cardiovascular disease
- Eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increased blood pressure
- Suppressed immune system
- Greater risk of heart attacks and strokes
- Mental health problems
“We can’t always prevent or control stressful triggers, but we can learn ways to cope and better manage stress. Therapy, medication, and other strategies can help,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“Talk to your health care provider if you feel down or anxious for more than several weeks or if it starts to interfere with your home or work life.”
Meanwhile, here are 7 tips for managing stress before it gets to be too much:
- Be kind to yourself: Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help improve your mood.
- Eat right: A healthy diet can lessen the effects of stress, build up your immune system, level your mood, and lower your blood pressure.
- Sleep: Not getting enough shut-eye can also add to your stress level and cause a cycle of stress and sleeplessness. Better sleep habits can help.
- Take a deep breath: Meditation and deep breathing techniques can help your body’s natural ability to relax.
- Look on the bright side: Take control of what you control and exchange negative thoughts for positive ones.
- Talk it out: Talking about your feelings can help, whether you confide in a therapist or a friend or family member.
How to Treat Stress
Besides the cost of having medical aid or medical insurance, or even paying out of pocket for private care, other factors in getting to the doctor or hospital can also be quite pricey.
Making your way to the doctor can be expensive, depending on where you live. For those without private transport, public transport may not be an option (especially during the COVID-19 outbreak) – this, and a lack of funds is often the deciding factor for many patients when it comes to cancelling appointments.
Hence, Affinity Health offers Telehealth for people who prefer consulting over the phone, or via the internet from the comfort of their own home.
The Telehealth benefit is being utilised more often due to its convenience. The primary healthcare professionals can prescribe medication up to Schedule 4 or if necessary, they will refer you to your nearest primary healthcare facility or Affinity Health network GP.
Contact Affinity at 0861 11 00 33 to learn more about the Telehealth benefit.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.